It’s not often I write but the opinion piece ‘Foetal Attraction’ by Kathy Lette in yesterday’s Advertiser requires a response from me as an adoptee (Advertiser, SA Weekend, March 28-29, p. 31).
Lette commences her light hearted approach to this serious subject: ‘would you rent your womb’ and goes on to say why she would do this for her son as ‘like most mums, [she] would do anything for her children’. What she does not consider is the effect on the child’s psyche and the potential complexity of her relationship with her son, and his child, as mother and grandmother (mother from the child’s in-womb experience).
My response to the question raised in the Advertiser: ‘Would you go through a pregnancy to help your child?’ was:
In a word – no! Kathy Lette’s article portrays a romantic notion of surrogacy and adoption separated from the known implications for the baby who is destined to a life of psychic disconnect. While her generosity is out of love for her son she has not considered the implications of parenting a child who is separated at birth from his/her known world. The experiences of those affected by adoption are well documented for those who want to hear.
Discussions about surrogacy and adoption continue to focus on the rights of the adults who want to be parents. Serious research is yet to be conducted to objectively capture the life-long effects of developmental attachment trauma on adoptees who as newborn he infants were removed from the familiarity of the womb and placed in a strange environment often with parents who were grieving their inability to produce their own offspring. It is not difficult to extrapolate their experience to surrogacy.
‘Without Consent – Australia’s past adoption practices’ will be officially opened tomorrow 30th March 2015 and will be travelling around Australia. The exhibit will continue to be available online at the National Archives of Australia website, as a chronicle of the pain of adoption.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Matt 11:15).
In Australia Adoptees are finally being given an opportunity to express the reality of their lives as Adoptees.
The Apology to those affected by the Australian Government’s Policy of Forced Adoptions is mounted on the wall in Parliament House, Canberra. The Forced Adoptions History Project is finalising its plans to travel around Australia to give voice to the pain expressed by Adoptees around the country.
And yet ‘in the next room’ so to speak, a new conversation has begun amongst prospective parents as the technology of Surrogacy is promoted as the hope for this generation of individuals and couples wanting to create a family.
The conversation however, is still adult focused and does not adequately explore the reality for the product of surrogacy, the new-born infant. For those interested in researching the effects of adoption/surrogacy, start with the development of the new-born infant – what happens at the moment of birth when the new-born meets her/his mother and is comforted after birth; the mirroring that begins with their first exchange; the role of smelling and tasting mother on the outside as this matches and correlates with the mother that s/he knew on the inside; of lying skin to skin against her breast and hearing her heart beat providing comfort, the security and continuity of existence; the shaping of the neurological connections; the production of hormones that begin the infant’s ability to experience joy…
Now imagine that for some reason these events do not happen. Imagine the effects on the new-born as it grows into childhood and adulthood … and you may be closer to understanding the experience of Adoption/surrogacy.
Read the stories of Adoptees. The e-journal Australian Journal of Adoption at http://www.nla.gov.au/openpublish/index.php/ajaand, has dedicated the current issue to their stories. their struggles with depression, disconnection, trauma, attachment and experiencing joy.
It’s time these stories were told to avoid another generation being affected by adoption/surrogacy that promises the joy of children to adults yet ignores the reality of development and attachment disruption and the long-term effects on the children and the parents.